R&B Singer Angie Stone’s ‘Love & War’ Finds Light

(Billboard) – After spending the last few years out of the public eye, soul singer Angie Stone returns to the charts in a big way this week with “The Art of Love & War,” which debuts at a career-best No. 11 on the Billboard 200. Its sales of 45,000 are down slightly from the 53,000 that greeted 2004’s “Stone Love,” her last release for J Records. “The Art of Love & War” is the first major release (and first to chart in the top half of the Billboard 200) from Concord’s recently re-launched Stax Records, which had lain dormant for 34 years. The album has benefited from a strong radio single in the form of “Baby,” which tops the Adult R&B chart this week and is No. 23 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, the third-best position of her nine career titles on the latter tally. Stone battled congestive heart failure last year, an experience chronicled on the new album’s “Happy Being Me.” “When you get close to losing your life, you see it flash before you,” she told Billboard in April. Stone has also been public about her battle with her weight, leading her to appear on the VH1 show “Celebrity Fit Club” in 2006. She has been tapped to serve as a spokeswoman for pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly to raise awareness about diabetes. Stone will decamp to Tokyo for an eight-night run at the Blue Note in mid-November, and play U.S. dates later in the year. The artist is also working with clothing brand Von Dutch, performing in its Hollywood and New York stores and considering co-branding options. Although music is once again her main focus, Stone, who has appeared in such TV shows as “Moesha” and “Girlfriends” and such films as “The Fighting Temptations,” recently signed with International Creative Management to handle her acting career. “This business is hard,” she told Billboard. “I’ve been waiting all these years, and I’ve survived.”

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